As a kid, I was relentlessly teased for being chubby. To the point where family members commented to my mom about how chunky I was. These remarks, along with growing up in a house where calorie-counting was a way of life, contributed to my dysfunctionally functional relationship with food (and my body).
Beyond counting calories, I had no idea how to choose healthy foods, reach a healthy weight of have a positive body image. But over the years, through my own personal work as a registered dietitian and wellness coach, I learned what a healthy relationship with food and our bodies looked like.
The truth is that real, lasting change starts with our thoughts.
1. Stop bashing your body and yourself.
Those horribly mean thoughts you tell yourself are making it impossible for you to make healthy decisions. Think about it. If you tell a child that they aren’t smart and will never succeed in school, do you know what they’ll think? Exactly that — that they’ll never do well in school.
If you’re walking around telling yourself, “I can’t lose weight. I’m a failure. Eating healthy is impossible for me,” you’re just setting yourself up for failure. The truth is that real, lasting change starts with our thoughts. Start tuning into what you’re telling yourself. When you’re ready, start focusing on what you’re proud of about yourself and what’s going well.
2. Stop ignoring your hunger cues.
In my early twenties, I used to think the longer I could go while ignoring my hunger was a sign of strength. The truth is, feeling hunger pangs is actually agood thing. It’s a signal you need to fuel your body, and that your metabolism is on-track.
Replace your fear of hunger with the desire to honor your hunger and fullness. When you’re hungry, nourish your body. When you’re satisfied, stop. It’s that simple, yet we’ve made it that difficult. It doesn’t have to be.
3. Stop doing exercises you hate.
You know what happens when you start doing something you really don’t like? You stop doing it. While it’s true that abs are essentially made in the kitchen, moving your body keeps you motivated, connected with your physical being and most importantly, empowers you.
Move your body in ways you’re actually excited about: a dance class, yoga or hiking. You don’t have to go to a gym. Experiment, have fun and find something you like doing.
4. Stop eating all the “zero” foods.
It sounds counter-intuitive, I know, but when you stop eating all those packaged diet foods and start eating real whole fresh foods, you’ll feel so much better, and you’ll finally be able to really feel satisfied.
5. Stop ignoring your emotions.
We don’t like feeling sad, lonely, anxious, stressed or vulnerable. But, do you know what it means when you feel these things? That you’re a human being having a human experience.
With everyone constantly sharing their “highlight reels,” it’s easy to think that feeling anything other than happiness is bad or not normal, which inevitably leaves you feeling like you’re alone and wanting food to comfort, zone out or fill the void.
I get it. When these feelings come creeping, food can be a calming way to numb. Instead of going there, breathe into your emotions and really feel them. Admitting these feelings are there, and choosing to embrace them and shed light upon them, will prevent you from reaching for Ben and Jerry’s. Trust the process.
6. Stop waiting until you get there.
Make a list of all the things you’d do, if you were where you want to be. Then, go out and start doing them. By waiting to do them, you’re preventing yourself from moving forward.
Do things that make you vibrant now. You’ll shift your vibration into one of inspiration, love and light. And when you’re in this place, you’ll automatically start choosing healthier actions, thoughts and people that will help pave your road for a life where you feel good in your skin (and that’s what really matters).